There’s no question that consistent effort will accelerate your mental game progress. To get results, you simply must do the work. Unfortunately, I think many psychology resources unintentionally make it seem like it’s simple to implement new advice or change your perspective by just reading about it.
Sure, there are times when you can have a big aha moment that transforms your emotional reactions and thoughts, ultimately leading to changes in your performance. But it’s not as common as it seems. And when it doesn’t happen, many poker players, traders and other professionals are left no better off than they were before they heard the advice, although sometimes actually worse off, thinking they did something wrong.
Think about it this way – you wouldn’t expect to read a book on personal fitness, then look down to see you now have stronger, bigger muscles without actually doing any exercise. In the same way, reading a book on psychology won’t fix your problems or improve your ability to get in the zone. You have to do the work.
With that in mind, just like personal trainers and fitness experts suggest exercises and routines to build muscle or increase endurance, I’ve developed tools and resources (many of which are free) to make it easier for you to do the work to improve your Mental Game.
If you are new to my work, the summary below offers a simple way to get to know more about what’s available and how to use it. And, if you are already familiar with my work, reminders never hurt!
Following a System
It starts with a system that’s built for efficiency. I hate wasting time and whenever there is an opportunity to get two benefits for one activity, I’m all in. That’s a lot of what my system is about. For example, you may be using an Injecting Logic statement to stop an emotional reaction in its tracks, but at the same time you’re training yourself to make a lasting correction.
The other benefit of my system is that it is proven to work for people across many different industries, so you don’t have to spend energy worrying if the strategy is right – you just have to worry about personalizing it and making it work for you.
Often working on your Mental Game can be confusing because you get conflicting advice. You read tips, tricks, pieces of advice on twitter, etc. but it’s not a proven system. A lot of great poker players and traders will tell you via blogs, interviews, or books, what worked for them. But what worked for them may not necessarily work for you. Following my system eliminates that worry and you can just focus on doing the work and personalizing your strategy.
Below you’ll find a summary of tools and resources to help you learn and apply my Mental Game system.
Mapping Your Pattern
The first step of my system, mapping helps you identify both a macro view of your emotional volatility and a micro view of the things that actually derail you. It allows you to identify your patterns so you can recognize signals before they turn into bigger problems. The core tools to use here are the Data Collection sheet and the Profiles (Greed, Fear, Anger, Confidence, and Discipline).
Out of the gate, data collection is the most important step. It helps you start the process of becoming more aware of the granular details of your reactions. The profiles then allow you to organize that information in a way that can be used directly for real-time corrections.
The Mental Hand History
The second step of my system is identifying the real roots of your problem, which are the hidden flaws, biases, illusions, and learning errors that are holding you back. When I first started working with poker players I created the Mental Hand History to assist in this process. It is a critical tool and one you should rely on and revisit often. More importantly, it’ll fundamentally rewire how you approach solving problems in your mental game.
The A to C-game Analysis
There is also the A-to-C Game Analysis (both for Trading and Poker), which outlines the different levels of your performance, so you can grade your performance, thus making it easier to be less results-oriented. Completing your A-to-C analysis is not something you only do once. If you are doing the work, you will be making progress and it will be important to come back to this tool again to reassess where you are.
Other Worksheets & Examples
The most recent addition to the worksheets library is a Perfectionism worksheet designed to encourage you to reshape the faulty perspective that bogs you down. For those of you who thrive on seeing examples of the tools in action, take a look at the Mental Game Stories & Examples we collected from readers earlier this year. If you have suggestions of other areas where the structure of a worksheet might help you focus, let me know!
One of the best-reviewed resources I offer right now is my monthly Office Hours. I started this free livestream event back in 2021 and over the last year and a half we’ve covered everything from Identifying the Root of Your Problem to Burnout to the intersection of Procrastination and Perfectionism.
Office Hours is a great way to get questions answered (either by submitting them in advance or bringing them up live), interacting with the material in a different way, and hearing from others about both their progress and roadblocks. You can participate live or watch the recording and might want to consider subscribing to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss future editions.
Obviously, coaching is the ultimate in personalized help in navigating my system and if you are interested in learning more, please check out my coaching page for answers to questions about sessions, rates and expectations.
But even if coaching isn’t for you right now, both traders and poker players often find completing my new client questionnaire (found here) to be thought-provoking and helpful. It is a comprehensive series of questions that can give you clarity on the current state of your mental game and force you to dig into the roots of your problems.
As a reminder, you don’t just have to read a book once and put it on the shelf. For The Mental Game of Trading, as well as The Mental Game of Poker 1& 2, you can go back to them again and again. You don’t have to read them chronologically either. Once you know the system, go to the section that you need to review.
And don’t forget about the free Intuition eBook, which is designed to make intuition more recognizable so you can produce it less spontaneously and use it more effectively.
Making the Most of The Mental Game of Trading
If you’ve already purchased The Mental Game of Trading, you want to make the most of it, right? Be sure to check out the Quick Guide, a resource to help you move through my system in an efficient and understandable way. If you purchased the audio version, you might also find the free Audible Companion helpful so you can reference material shown in the physical copy such as illustrations, graphs, and samples of tools.
Sometimes you want more than the written word. If you are looking for a more robust way to bring the materials to life, check out my two video courses. The Trading Psychology Masterclass walks you through my system and provides a lot of examples with traders of all different levels. For the poker players out there, The Mental Game Tune-Up for Tournament Poker lays out a structure to prepare yourself to play at a high level, for each and every tournament series that you play, and you’ll get to see two top poker pros going through the material and preparing themselves. Plus, once you purchase any of the video material, you have access to it for life.
Again, this month is all about Doing the Work. Use these tools to create some structure around your next steps. Because if you are willing to do the work, you can make progress. How much progress is up to you.